This morning, I had the privilege of appearing on GLZ Army Radio (at around 9:45am so 45 minutes into the recording), where I discussed Hillel’s decision to bring Breaking the Silence into its building, the Kraft Center.
Kraft is a staunch Zionist. As is Ira Rennart, the benefactor of the room in which the talk will be located.
I wanted to go on more about the blood libel and demonization of Israel that is commonplace with Breaking the Silence, including soldier Avner Gvaryahu, who is the representative coming to campus tomorrow. He is known for saying that human rights abuses are a normal, everyday occurrence in the IDF. Is this the kind of guy we want brainwashing our children?
Alas, I didn’t have enough time to say what I wanted, but what I did say was that the climate on campus is already so anti-Israel, that if Jewish students hear from their own representatives, from an organization that claims to be pro-Israel, that Israel’s army is a human rights disaster on wheels, they will no longer want to engage in advocacy to defend the state of Israel. In making the decision to bring Breaking the Silence, Hillel is spitting in the faces of pro-Israel advocates on campus, telling us that we have no place here, undoing all the good work that we do by endorsing groups that claim that the army is guilty of such severe human rights abuses that it might as well no longer exist. Either that, or it should be weakened or pacified to such an extent that it would be obliterated in an instant. And yes, allowing them into the Hillel building is equivalent to endorsing. They aren’t even allowed in Israeli educational institutions. These same educational institutions allow B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, and other organizations that speak blood libel against the State of Israel. (Hillel has brought them too, as part of a larger pattern across the United States due to the frequent requests of fringe radical Jewish Students who worship leftism to the abandonment of Judaism).
What I did succeed in doing was bringing Alon Friedman, the president of Hillel Israel, on the defensive. He disclosed that he personally disagreed with the decision. He also lied about J Street’s connection to Israel: He said J Street is NOT a part of Hillel or affiliated with Hillel in any way.
Oh really? Then how do you explain this.
J Street is listed as a Hillel group on campus.
It’s not just at Hillel Columbia. Hillel at UCLA also was controlled by J Street from 2010 to 2014.
I don’t have an issue with an organization that is pro-two-states or pro-Palestine (provided they are also actually pro-Israel). But has anyone ever heard J Street say anything good about Israel or defend Israel? I haven’t either. I therefore do not believe that J Street is pro-Israel, as all I hear from them are the same arguments I get from outwardly anti-Israel groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the same accusations of human rights abuses, the same pressure on Democrat lawmakers to pass legislation against Israel, and so on. They are nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
As for Hillel? Hillel’s new, unsaid mandate is to cater to all Jewish Students, regardless of Israel. They claim they do so in hopes that their proximity and connection with Judaism fostered there will bring them closer to Israel. Unfortunately, in this climate, by bringing in anti-Israel organizations, Hillel is fostering the absolute opposite: Feelings of shame and distancing from Israel. They are encouraging a climate where it is considered “cool” and “sophisticated” to distance oneself from Israel and to speak ill of it. Israel has taken a backseat to Judaism at Hillel, which I don’t have a problem with in itself. My issue is how Hillel misrepresents itself as a pro-Israel organization, especially at Columbia, where it allows anti-Israel activities to proceed unopposed, despite what it says about making sure there is opposition (there won’t be, at least not invited guests).
As the interview proceeded, Friedman continued with his defense, saying he himself doesn’t agree with the decision, but when there is a demand, Hillel’s job is serving Jewish students regardless of political affiliation. When talked into a corner about the fact that Breaking the Silence speaks very badly about the Israeli Army and its soldiers, Friedman asked the audience to put themselves in Hillel Columbia president Brian Cohen.
“Let’s say we don’t let them bring Breaking the Silence. Then some prof will bring them, or another organization that is more hostile to Israel. Jewish students wouldn’t get a chance to defend themselves. They would be much less likely to have any dissent.”
So by this logic you think it’s cool to bring in the Nazi Party if enough self-hating Jewish students request it?
Cool story, bro.